GOLF can best be defined as an endless series of tragedies obscured by the occasional miracle.

Caddies, in that respect, are miracle wor­kers. They are more than just advisors – they are the golfer’s psychologist, lean-to, and only friend.
These guys not only work in the most serene environment imaginable, they also “fertilise” the mind of blooming golfers.

People’s Post talked to two Rondebosch Golf Course caddies, Johannes Fortuin and Cosmos Mweniwao, after they returned from their own tournament at Royal Durban Golf Club, in which they exhibited their meticulous swings.
These professionals don’t only caddie, but they can play the near-perfect round as well.

The Western Province A team, of which Fortuin is the captain, were crowned champions and Mweniwao’s B-Team came fourth.
Their manager, Ian Jooste, elaborates: “These caddies compete on a national level against the best the other provinces have to offer. There are 16 teams and four caddies per team, which amounts to 60-odd players.” This was the fifth such event, and WP has never finished outside the top five. Many are under the illusion that caddies just caddie, but they are, of course, also avid golfers.

Fortuin, playing off a handicap of two, sums it up when he says: “It is very important that caddies play golf. One can give better advice to players, because you know what you’re talking about.”
He grew up next to a golf course near Westlake, and says he has wanted to play golf ever since he was a young boy. As a result, he started hitting golf balls around from the age of eight, and has been at it for 35 years.
The saying that practice makes perfect has never been further away from the truth in golfing terms. You may swing clubs all your life, but on any given day you can triple bogey one hole and eagle the next.
To illustrate this, Fortuin’s best at Rondebosch (where he usually averages 74) is a 68.

Mweniwao plays off a three handicap, and has also played golf for as long as he can remember.
“I’m from Malawi, and have been in this country for a year and four months,” he explains. There are apparently 18 golf courses in Malawi, which has “nice” courses, but Mweniwao says South Africa’s are better.
When asked why his WP B-team didn’t crack the top three in the caddie stroke play tournament in Durban, he answers apologe­tically: “I thought I’m playing in the A-team, so was far away when I suddenly got the news that I must tee-off. My first two shots went out of bounds and it was difficult to recover from there.”

The caddies only played two rounds, so to recover from such a start says a lot about his mental strength. Golf is much more than a sport – it’s a lonely trip down an unexplored path, which eventually defines one’s mentality.
With a caddie by your side it’s easier to face those inner demons.
Fortuin continues: “We are there for the gol­fer and strive to keep them positive. They will get frustrated, but we keep them in the right frame of mind.
“They will give up halfway through the round, but we try to bring them back. A caddie stands between winning and losing, and often saves at least five shots a round.”
He says it takes just one shot to sum up the golfer and prepare for what lies ahead.

Even the caddie, however, knows when it’s a lost cause. Fortuin recalls a particularly bad golfer asking him which ball should be used to hit over the looming lake, to which he responded: “An old one!”
Team manager Jooste concludes: “There is currently no official avenue for caddies to channel their talent, which must be nurtured.

“The tournament in Durban is the first step towards that goal, and we would not have competed if it wasn’t for our generous sponsors and supporters – the Senior Golfers Union of South Africa, TaylorMade, Adidas, Sekunjalo, the WP Golf Union, and Cape Town Golf Club Management.”

***DISCLAIMER: THIS ARTICLE AND PHOTO WERE PUBLISHED IN PEOPLE’S POST, A CAPE TOWN BASED MEDIA24 COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER. NEITHER MAY BE DUPLICATED WITHOUT ACCREDITING THE SOURCE – PEOPLE’S POST, MEDIA24.***

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